Some legislators have started to go wobbly on school finance, as the fiscal implications of the House and Senate proposals become clearer. That’s discouraging, though hardly a surprise. What was surprising was how little rank-and-file resistance there had been this session to the admirable bipartisan effort by the governor and legislative leaders to answer the Kansas Supreme Court’s orders and the Legislature’s own audit with large three-year funding plans. But even one of those may not meet the high court’s expectations. And passing a one-year, $175 million plan, as newly proposed by House Majority Leader Clay Aurand, R-Courtland, won’t come close to giving school districts what they need. Disregarding the cost audit as “politically impossible” also seems indefensible, especially to those in the large urban districts with lots of the poor, at-risk students the audit singled out as deserving far more funding. It will be no easy task for legislators to sort out how best to distribute the money and fund future years. But if lawmakers ignore their own auditors and settle for what is politically easy, they can expect more stern words from the high court, and perhaps another painful special session.
Posted by Rhonda Holman
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